Why is Key West so popular?
1.) It looks like Disneyland
Much of Disney was styled on the old colonial aspects of American architecture, and Key West totally embodies this feel. Cute little wooden buildings painted in white and adorned with pastel trimmings are everywhere and the town centre itself looks (in places) like its straight out of a Western. Old fashioned, colourful signs decorate the sweet little buildings- I think this cutsie feel is what makes Key West so magically charming from the moment you get there.
2.) It is the secret party capital of Florida
With bars galore and an atmosphere of perpetual party, Key West is all out rocking, whatever the time of day, night or as we discovered, morning! The Bull bar is absolutely alive with middle aged party animals, beer in hand, heckling the intoxicated guitarist, and although taking your pint to a table is seen as a ‘health and safety hazard’ it is quite the experience. I guess the signage around the joint gives its nature away- ‘soup of the day: tequila’ and the singer’s tip box had two sections, one labelled ‘strippers’ and the other labelled ‘drugs’. I’m sure much of this is just a bit of a laugh, and I’m also sure that I 100% did not fit in as more or less a non drinker, however I enjoyed my bi-monthly Blue Moon beer and the gorgeous murals on the walls. As I strolled down the marina with a coffee in hand, a guy heckled ‘THIS IS KEY WEST, YOU NEED ALCOHOL IN YOUR HAND’ and that just about tells you all you need to know…..this scene isn’t really ours at all, but it has a fun vibe nonetheless.
3.) Key Lime Pie
I could really just leave this section with that title and enough would be said but I feel you just need to try and imagine the absolute taste sensation that Key Lime Pie in Key West is. The cream, the tang, the smoothness, the crunch, all in one mouthful- it’s just to die for. My eyes about bulged out of my head from the first mouthful; it’s nothing like the stuff you get from the supermarkets or the slightly rubbery junk that cafes try to pass off as ‘authentic’ all over the world. Nothing is like Key West Key Lime Pie and I’m not sure you’ve lived without heading down the Keys for your own bite of perfection.
4.) Conch Fritters
Now, I can’t speak from experience because the thought of a squishy large mussel in batter turns my stomach, but it is a delicacy in these parts. Cute little huts sell them for a couple of dollars and they really were flying off the shelves- people love them and boasting some of the freshest in the world, Key West is the place to get them if it’s your thing. I just liked the pink hut to be honest.
5.) 90 miles to Cuba
Passage to Cuba is opening up rapidly thanks to the restrictions lifted by Obama, which means that much of the authentic Cuban produce is really hitting Key West now. Cuban cigars are readily available, and huge stores offering all different types and flavours are more or less every other shop. Cuban restaurants are everywhere and pretty soon ferries are expected to make the crossing daily. I hope this doesn’t mean that Cuba or Key West lose their own charm but it is an exciting time for this part of the world. We had a little taste of Cuba in our visit to Key West, and it was glorious!
6.) HUGE FISH